“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.” ~ Neil Gaiman
Rather than the traditional resolution list of fad diets, breaking habits and promises that usually gets broken, I decided to create a list of new things to try—things that can be crossed off (or added to) as the year goes on. There’s one for each week of the year—most are free and all are easily achievable!
- Write a handwritten note and post it to someone you haven’t been in touch with for a while.
- Make someone a Birthday or celebration cake.
- Volunteer for the day, a local dog shelter, home for the elderly or at a soup kitchen for the homeless.
- Take a bus or train to a town, village or city that you’ve never visited. Just go to the station and get on the next one that comes in.
- Learn meditation, yoga, Pilates or something new that you’ve never tried.
- Make a scrapbook, print out photographs, emails and attach keepsakes.
- Go to an outdoor weekend music festival. And sleep under the stars.
- Learn to play a musical instrument.
- Spend a whole day in bed watching movies, reading books and snuggling with a loved one.
- Look up your family tree and find out what you can learn about your ancestors.
- Sign up for a local community class, learn something new and meet other people who live in your area at the same time.
Forgive someone who has hurt you. And maybe let them know.
- Plant seeds and grow something in a window box or the garden. If possible start a small vegetable garden.
- Compliment a stranger, it will possibly make their day.
- Read an old classic. Choose one that’s always caught your attention and be patient if you don’t get into it straight away.
- Start your own or join a book club.
- Go to a museum, the cinema or a restaurant alone. Enjoy your own company.
- Bake cookies and share them at work, when visiting friends or give them to a neighbour that may be on their own.
- Make your own birthday, anniversary, valentines or celebration cards.
- Go mountain climbing, hiking, or a long forest walk.
- Eat lunch outdoors, pack a picnic in a hamper, sit by a lake, the sea, go to a local park or lay out a blanket in the garden.
- Roller skate. Hire or buy a pair and have fun while toning up.
- Let someone else order for you in a restaurant. Or cook something you would never normally try.
- Call someone you haven’t spoken to in a while and make plans to visit.
- For a period of time, a week, a month or all year, only shop locally. Purchase free-range, ethical and fair-trade goods, buy from independent retailers, at farmer’s markets and give handcrafted creations as presents.
- Invent your own cocktail, purchase your favourite ingredients and try out something new. Adorn it with umbrellas, fancy stirrers and edible glitter.
- Play a board game with friends or family. Scrabble, Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit sadly get forgotten due to technology. They are timeless classics and a great way to spend quality time together.
- Swap the car for a bike for the day. So much more can be absorbed when cycling, plus it’s great exercise.
- Attend an open mic night. Great entertainment and can be the perfect way to meet new people too.
- Donate to charity, whether it’s clothes you no longer wear, blankets to the local dog shelter or a sack of carrots to donkeys in India. There are charities everywhere grateful for anything. Even if it’s a $1 donation—it all helps.
- Make homemade bread. It’s very simple and completely delicious.
- Switch off all phones, laptops and technology devices. Find different ways to communicate with those close to us and spend quality time with yourself or with others.
- Have a major clear out. De-clutter, if it’s not pretty, useful or it hasn’t been used in the last 6 months, be ruthless, let it go.
- Write out a will, a little morbid to think about but it will give you great peace of mind.
- Take all old books and magazines to a local waiting room, for others to read. Write a note in the front of a book and leave in a public place for others to take on and enjoy and then they can do the same when they’ve finished.
- Take your camera with you for a whole day and capture everything and anything that takes your interest.
- Attend a food or wine tasting festival. Most cities hold these events and they are usually free to attend and a great way to try new tastes.
- Hold a mini movie festival at home. Invite your best friends, tell them to bring a movie they love and spend a whole afternoon and evening together curled up chatting, eating and drinking and sharing old favourites.
- Organise a clean up with neighbours. Choose a particular hot spot that has turned into an eyesore and get a few people involved to help out. It won’t take long, will be enjoyable working together and you’ll be amazed at the difference a few hours teamwork can make.
- Get a few friends together and take a ball to the park. Play soccer, rounders, cricket or basketball and ask everyone to bring something to add to a small outdoor snack/picnic afterwards.
- Make your own soup—nothing tastes better. Especially if you add your homemade bread.
- Learn a new language, especially if it’s of a country you plan to visit.
- Go for a swim (if you don’t already.) Or try a brand new water-based activity, water/jet skiing, surfing, canoeing, sailing, kayaking.
- Skip! It’s free, burns a heap of calories and can be done anywhere.
- Take a road trip—pack a few necessities, take a map and set out on adventure with no set destination. Explore and investigate different places along the way.
- Camp out—choose a time when the weather is good, take a barbeque set and sleeping bags and a portable radio. Relax with nature and leave all technology behind.
- Read the community newsletter or noticeboards. Find out what’s going on locally and get involved in a new activity.
- Try a new look—choose a new hairstyle or try wearing clothes that you like but wouldn’t normally wear.
Write a list of everything we appreciate. Sometimes things can go unnoticed and it’s a great way of becoming more aware and then passing on the gratitude.
- Watch a sunset, sunrise or both. Find a spot with a good view and settle down with a friend or loved one and enjoy.
- Write down your life plan. It doesn’t have to be specific, or even achievable. Just a guide for all the things you would like to do and then you can tick and cross off the ones that you want to work towards.
- Take time out to let those around you know they are loved. Call up, write letters, visit and send the message out strong and clear to those that are most important to you.
The most meaningful New Year’s resolution: Bodhicitta.
4 Ways to Start the New Year off Right
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Sign up for our (curated) daily and weekly newsletters!
Author: Alex Sandra Myles
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash
A good new thing to try: a free local food salad!
Read 33 comments and reply